REVIEW: THE PERFECT HOST / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: NICK TOMNAY / SCREENPLAY: NICK TOMNAY, KRISHNA JONES / STARRING: DAVID HYDE PIERCE, CLAYNE CRAWFORD, MEGAHN PERRY, NATHANIEL PARKER / AVAILABLE: WWW.THEHORRORSHOW.TV
Cruelly overlooked when it slipped out on DVD last year, this deviously twisted thriller is given another chance as the good folks at thehorrorshow.tv have it available for streaming.
Having just pulled off a lucrative bank heist, and ditching the money for a later pickup by his partner, John Taylor (Crawford) - bleeding heavily from a foot wound, and mugged when he accidentally stumbles into a grocery store hold-up - needs a place to hide out as the police are closing in. He tricks his way into the home of Warwick Wilson (Hyde Pierce), a charming and amenable chap who is preparing a dinner party for his friends. Weaving an elaborate ruse after reading a postcard addressed to Warwick, and constantly thinking on his feet to avoid detection, John's plans don't go exactly how he would have liked.
What follows is a glorious game of cat-and-mouse, very much in the style of Sleuth, and a very different kind of home invasion film. It's difficult to say too much about the plot as it would really take much of the enjoyment from the viewer (in fact, definitely DON'T watch the trailer first, either), but rest assured, it's worth going in as blind as possible. While it doesn't always make rational sense, it's a fun enough ride, so just to go along with the craziness.
Expanded from Tomnay's 2001 short, The Host, the extended running time allows Hyde Pierce to really shine. While better known as the sardonic Niles in TV's Frasier, his powerhouse portrayal of Warwick, shows many different shades to his range and eminently watchable. Crawford does struggle not to be overshadowed by his co-star's imposing presence, but manages to hold his own; and comes across like a young Ray Liotta. It's directed with confidence, humour and style; with the metaphorical rug being unpredictably pulled spectacularly numerous times during the duration.
Worth checking out, as cult status beckons.